In simple terms, biofeedback is the use of body sensors to train you how to control various aspects of your body or mind.
For example, one form of biofeedback monitors heart rate in order to teach you how to lower your heart rate using breathing exercises.
A more complex form of biofeedback is called Neurofeedback, in which EEG electrodes are placed on the scalp to monitor your brainwave activity. Through continual training, you can be taught how to control that brain activity in order to learn how to enhance your concentration or to relax in stressful situations. Here is a Beginner’s Guide to qEEG and EEG
There are many types of biofeedback, but the three most common types are as follows:
Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) - Also known as skin conductance response (SCR) or electrodermal response (EDR), this biofeedback method measures the electrical resistance between two points on the body, usually between two fingers. GSR is an indirect, but extremely accurate, measure of relaxation. The higher the resistance, the more relaxed a person is. Consequently, GSR is most often used to help people learn to meditate, relax or relieve stress.
Heart Rate Monitoring - Heart rate can also be an indirect measure of the level of arousal. A low heart rate can indicate relaxation. Also, heart rate monitoring can typically be used to determine the rate of breathing, since heart rate increases and decreases during a single breath. There are also more complex uses of heart rate such as Heart Rate Variability. Primarily, these techniques are used to help train a person to relax, relieve stress, learn proper breathing techniques and become more emotionally stable.
EEG Neurofeedback - EEGs, or electroencephalographs, are used to monitor brainwaves. They do this by placing electrodes on the scalp and measuring the electrical activity of the brain. Neurofeedback is the use of EEGs to help train individuals to produce specific brainwave patterns in order to help alleviate certain conditions like ADD or anxiety.
The easiest way to use biofeedback with our software is to purchase a biofeedback device like the ThoughtStream USB and use it with our Neuro-Programmer 3 software. Our software uses the data received from the ThoughtStream to optimize the brainwave entrainment stimulation. We call this BioOptimization.
BioOptimization does this by analyzing your physiological response to the stimulation and then optimizing the stimulation to increase or decrease that response.
Don't worry, it does all of this automatically. All you need to do is plug in the biofeedback device and turn on our software. It is as simple as that. The program does the rest.
BioOptimization can be done through GSR units or even EEG units like the Emotiv EPOC, Emotiv EEG or NeuroSky EEG.
Another way to use biofeedback with our software is through what is called EEG-Driving, where an EEG is used to analyze brain activity and provide optimal stimulation for the user.
Our Mind WorkStation software is compatible with nearly every EEG on the market and allows flexibility enough to provide EEG-Driving and a wide range of other feedback options, such as the creation of biofeedback games using the on-screen visuals.
There are two devices we recommend to our clients:
These plug directly into the computer, and work with our software with no additional equipment or configuration required.
The other option is an EEG device. You will need an EEG device if plan on doing EEG-Driving or conducting brainwave research.
These are the devices we recommend:
- Emotiv EPOC or Emotiv EEG (recommended for EEG-Driving)
- NeuroSky EEG (recommended for BioOptimization)